New landscape report to guide efforts to improve Brackenridge Park in San Antonio
The Brackenridge Park Conservancy has released its Cultural Landscape Report which will guide efforts to improve the park’s ecological systems.
The report also aims to protect and celebrate the historic and archaeological sites of the park.
“Making sense of 12,000 years of a changing landscape and providing a usable plan for the future has not been an easy task,” said Lynn Osborne Bobbitt, Executive Director of BPC.
“But the green space of Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio River across the inner city, and the legacy of uses and stories of people through time, are irreplaceable and worth it. The documentation, timeline, mapping and analysis recounted in the Cultural Landscape and Site Environmental Assessment report will be an invaluable guide as we work together to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for Brackenridge Park.
Park Conservation commissioned the report in conjunction with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department and the San Antonio River Authority. The report team included landscape architects.
Over an 18-month period, the team assessed the ecological health of the landscape and the San Antonio River, conducted extensive historical research, documented existing conditions, assessed opportunities and challenges, and developed treatment recommendations for the community intention.
The report identified key areas to focus on:
- Research, maintain and provide accessible prehistoric and historical archaeological sites
- Restore and develop the accessible and healthy upper reaches of the San Antonio River and the Riparian Corridor
- Restore damaged and hidden river structures like acequias, dams, ditches and retaining walls
- Restore threatened vegetation / soils / hydrology, historic canopies and declining plant communities
- Reinvent entry and arrival areas that are not entirely obvious or inviting
- Reinvent the orientation and routes through the park that provide access to the many experiences of the park
- Integrate borders and boundaries between cultural institutions that highlight their historical relationship with the park.
A long-term goal is to include the park in a Congress designation as a national heritage area, capitalizing on cultural tourism as a source of income. Over the next few months, the Brackenridge Park Conservancy will be holding public meetings and tours to invite the community to discuss and comment on the future of the park.
Just below the springs of the San Antonio River, the Brackenridge Park site has been a gathering place for humans for 12,000 years, according to conservation.
The 343-acre park includes shaded trails and picnic areas along two miles of the San Antonio River. There are also playgrounds and softball fields, a miniature train, historic structures, the Witte Museum, the zoo, and the oldest municipal golf course in Texas.
Brackenridge Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas State Monument of Antiquities. The Japanese Tea Garden, a walkway, and other works by artist Dionicio Rodriguez, and Water Works Pump House No.1 are individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to conservation.
Brackenridge Park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The full report is available on the Brackenridge Park Conservancy website.
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